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Geology department to open new mineral collection

A dedication service and ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place on Friday, Nov. 10 beginning in the Calvin chapel at 3 p.m. The public is invited to attend.  Photo by Jared Stratz
A dedication service and ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place on Friday, Nov. 10 beginning in the Calvin chapel at 3 p.m. The public is invited to attend. Photo by Jared Stratz

Leaves won’t be the only colors changing on Calvin’s campus this autumn, as October brings a world-class mineral collection to the geology department.

This new museum is currently being built near the geology, geography and environmental studies department in North Hall.

Bruce Dice, a 1948 Calvin alumnus, has been acquiring rare and beautiful pieces for the past 30 years. He will soon have samples of various minerals, such as crocolite, a rare lead chromite mineral that produces bright orange crystals, put on display in the Bruce Dice Mineralogical Museum.

“I decided it was time to share it,” said the 85-year-old geologist from Houston, Texas in a recent Spark article.  “I have several pieces that the Houston Museum of Natural Science would have enjoyed having, but I went to the love of my life — Calvin College.

“This will give the department and Calvin credibility because there are only two mineral museums in the state of Michigan and none in the west Michigan area,” he said. Dice hopes that the collection will not only provide visibility to the geology department, but also to the local community.

Dice’s favorite pieces include a large piece of calcite and the crocolite piece previously mentioned. The crocolite was at one time the biggest piece of this mineral on display in the world.

Dice also plans to add to his collection, not wanting to end with the pieces ready for display. His most recent addition is florescent minerals, which emit light when exposed to UV rays.

Calvin geology professor Gerry Van Kooten noted in the Spark article that the collection will be a great asset to the classrooms because of how it will offer the opportunity to study the shape and symmetry of the rocks.

The museum has been designed around other mineralogical museums. These aim to show off the rocks in the most aesthetically pleasing manner. The museum will be open to the public and staffed by older community members who have been educated in Calvin’s Calvin Academy of Lifelong Learning (CALL).

These volunteers have received special training and will be able to answer questions and give information about the rocks to observers. The museum will also offer geology students the opportunity to work there and gain experience in their field.

“God has given me a wonderful life,” said Dice. “There have been some rocks along the way — it hasn’t always been a smooth road — but I’m still here today, and I’m still trying to do something to present some of God’s wonderful variations that exist in this earth.”

Dice went on to say that he has been blessed so abundantly, he constantly thinks about what he can do to contribute.

“Why not keep working, and make things work better in the world, for the good of all of us?” Dice told YourHoustonNews. “I have always thought, ‘Where could I go and help somebody else out?’

Why would I just sit down and do nothing? I’ve been given this life, and I can still contribute in this way.”

Dice said that he will continue to work at his company, Wadi Petroleum, or on individual projects, as long as his health allows.

About the Author

Elizabeth Lamoureux

Elizabeth Lamoureux is a Chimes guest writer for the 2012-13 school year.

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